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Rotten to the Core is a song from Disney Channel's 2015 television film, Descendants, whose music and lyrics were composed by Joacim Persson, Shelly Peiken, and Johann Alkenas. After Ben's introduction, the song introduces the four villainous teenage children, who wreck havoc to the inhabitants of the Isle of the Lost as they head through numerous locations on the Isle. This is the first song in Descendants as well as the first in the franchise.

The song was performed in its original show-tune version in the film by the main cast – Dove Cameron, Booboo Stewart, Sofia Carson, and Cameron Boyce – in their vocal roles as Mal (daughter of Maleficent and Hades), Jay (son of Jafar), Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen), and Carlos De Vil (son of Cruella De Vil). The song peaked at number 38 in the Billboard Hot 100. A second version, performed by actress and singer Sofia Carson, was released as a single on December 18, 2015.

Background and composition[]

A midtempo dance-pop song, "Rotten to the Core" exhibits elements of pop, dubstep and hip hop. Built on a beat, multi-tracked harmonies, the song's instrumentation includes slow-bouncing synthesizer tones and keyboard. The song was written by Joacim Persson, Shelly Peiken, and Johann Alkenas and produced by the duo Twin.

Cameron's vocals span from the low note of F and Carson vocals span from the high notes of F. The song introducing the four villainous offspring in the film. Gary Wright of Rotoscopes noted that part of the song is spoken, whispered, reflecting an ominous tone to the voices, while only the chorus is sung. Lyrically, the song talks about the feelings of the villains, who are evil and wicked, but they like to be just like the way they are ("Who's the baddest of them all? / Welcome to my wicked world, wicked world"). The stanzas are sung also among the four artists, while the pre-chorus is only performed by Cameron and the chorus by Booboo Stewart.

Critical reception[]

The song has received mixed reviews from music critics. The KidsWorld Magazine He said the "Rotten to the Core" is fun and the best song on the album. Chuck Campbell of Knoxville News Sentinel was positive and commented the song is "surprisingly bold". Daynah of Disney Geek He commented that the song has an addictive melody and good sound effects, with a marked keyboard.

Marshal Knight of Laughing Place was negative and said "Rotten to the Core" is disjointed and the worst song from a Disney Channel Original Movie, analyzing that Booboo Stewart "saying the same phrase over and over with a rasp that wasn't necessary". Gary Wright of Rotoscopes said that the song is a "ridiculously cheesy song", "fails to hit the right notes" and "makes the movie so bland and forgettable".

Common Sense Media mentioned that the song should not be introduced for children under 6 years, because in the film scene that plays the song, Evie "draws one boy in to kiss her in a very seductive scene and wants to land a prince with money and a big castle". Ryan Clavin of WDW Info said, "the song is a little 'meh' and a bit too on the nose, as most Disney Channel songs are".

Audio[]

Lyrics[]

Mal:
They say I'm trouble
They say I'm bad
They say I'm evil
And that makes me glad

Jay:
A dirty no-good
Down to the bone
Your worst nightmare
Can't take me home

Evie:
So I've got some mischief
In my blood
Can you blame me?
I never got no love

Carlos:
They think I'm callous
A low-life hood
I feel so useless

All:
Misunderstood!

Mal and Evie:
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who's the baddest of them all?
Welcome to my wicked world
Wicked world!

Chorus:
I'm rotten to the core, core
Rotten to the core
I'm rotten to the core, core
Who could ask for more?
I'm nothing like the kid next, like the kid next door
I'm rotten to the (core), I'm rotten to the
I'm rotten to the core

Mal:
Call me a schemer
Call me a freak
How can you say that?
I'm just unique!

Jay:
What, me a traitor?
Ain't got your back?
Are we not friends?
What's up with that?

Evie:
So I'm a misfit
So I'm a flirt
I broke your heart?
I made you hurt?

Carlos:
The past is past
Forgive, forget
The truth is

All:
You ain't seen nothing yet!

Mal and Evie:
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who's the baddest of them all?
Welcome to my wicked world
Wicked world!

(Instrumental bridge)

Chorus:
I'm rotten to the core, core
Rotten to the core
I'm rotten to the core, core
Who could ask for more?
I'm nothing like the kid next, like the kid next door
I'm rotten to the (core), I'm rotten to the
I'm rotten to the core

Screenshots[]

Video[]

Trivia[]

  • The song was written and produced by Joacim Persson, Shelly Peiken and Johan Alkenas.
  • Sofia Carson has her own solo version as an intro and the theme for the Descendants: Wicked World animated shorts series.
  • The song has a Christmas version sung in Disney parks called Jolly to the Core, performed by Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson, and Booboo Stewart.
  • Sofia Carson also sang a Spanish/English version of this song.
  • Some of the cast from Descendants 3 sang a Remix version of this song.
  • A brief instrumental of this song can be heard in Descendants 2, when Mal is back on the Isle of the Lost and tears down a poster of her and Ben.
  • Booboo Stewart did his own stunts in the music video.


v - e - d
Descendants Songs Logo
Descendants
Rotten to the CoreEvil Like MeDid I MentionIf OnlyBe Our GuestIf Only (Reprise)Set It OffBelieve
Descendants: Wicked World
Season 1: Rotten to the CoreGood is the New BadI'm Your GirlNight Is Young
Season 2: Rather Be With YouEvilBetter Together
Descendants 2
Ways To Be WickedWhat's My NameChillin' Like a VillainSpace BetweenIt's Goin' DownYou and MeKiss the GirlPoor Unfortunate Souls
Descendants 3
Good to Be BadQueen of MeanDo What You Gotta DoNight FallsOne KissMy Once Upon a TimeBreak This DownDig a Little DeeperDid I Mention (Reprise)Happy BirthdayVK Mashup
Other songs
Genie in a BottleJolly to the CoreChillin' Like a SnowmanStrongerKeep Your Head on Halloween
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